United Stories of America

Forward Theater Company's 2020-2021 Season

Welcome to our 12th season of bringing dynamic new plays to Madison-area audiences! The stories we chose share a fundamental sense of examining America. They look at how we talk about our communities and the state of our nation, and look also at whose voices we’ve been listening to (and whose have been left out). When we meet for these stories in 2020-2021, we will be united in our quest for a communal experience, our desire to laugh and learn together, and in our love of this art form that brings us empathy, catharsis, and joy.

RENEW or PURCHASE a subscription to the 2020-21 season!

Our 2020-21 Season Sponsors: Madison Community Foundation, Evjue Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Wisconsin Arts Board - with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts, The Madison Concourse Hotel, Distillery Design, Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin




The Lifespan of a Fact

by Jeremy Kareken & David Murrell and Gordon Farrell
Presented Virtually September 2020 - Details

A Virtual Presentation | Wisconsin Premiere

Directed by Joe Hanreddy

Celebrated author John D’Agata has just written a sublime and shattering magazine essay. But is his story true? And how negotiable are the facts? When the world’s most neurotically precise fact-checker appears on the author’s Las Vegas doorstep and starts dissecting his work, the ultimate showdown between “truth” and “accuracy” begins. As the deadline looms, the high-stakes world of publishing becomes a battle royale in this brand new comedy of conflict. Timely and terrific, this brainy Broadway hit wrestles with truth, what constitutes it, and who gets to decide.

"...a rib-bustingly funny farce in which things go from very bad to far worse in nothing flat.”
– The Wall Street Journal

Sponsored by: Steve & Jacqui Suleski, DeWitt, The Cap Times




45 Plays for America’s First Ladies

by Chloe Johnston, Sharon Greene, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates,
Bilal Dardai, and Andy Bayiates
New dates: May 6-23, 2021 - Details

Rolling world premiere

Directed by Jennifer Uphoff Gray

Forty-five plays. Forty-five+ First Ladies. This 100-minute journey through American history utilizes comedy, drama, music, dance and more as it surveys the lives of the women who have served (and avoided serving) as First Lady. 45 Plays… is a biographical, meta-theatrical, genre-bending look at gender, race, and everything else your history teacher never taught you about the founding (and the confounding) of America.

A brand-new project from the writers of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, described perfectly by the Los Angeles Times:

"If Jon Stewart, the Smothers Brothers, and the League of Women Voters invaded the Hall of Presidents at Disney World, the results might resemble this play."

Sponsored by: Custer Plumb Financial Services, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Stafford Rosenbaum, Isthmus





The Niceties

by Eleanor Burgess
January 22-February 7, 2021

A Virtual Presentation

Directed by Jen Uphoff Gray & DiMonte Henning

In The Niceties, Zoe, a Black student at a liberal arts college, is called into her white professor’s office to discuss her paper about slavery’s effect on the American Revolution. What begins as a polite clash in perspectives explodes into an urgent debate about race, history, and power.

Cast includes Samantha Newcomb (seen recently at American Players Theatre and in A Christmas Carol at Childrens Theater of Madison, and Sarah Day (seen recently in Life Sucks, and at American Players Theatre).

Sponsored by: MG&E, CUNA Mutual




Lewiston | Clarkston

by Samuel D. Hunter
April 8-25, 2021

Wisconsin Premiere

Directed by Jennifer Uphoff Gray/Jake Penner

Two plays. One event.

In Lewiston, Alice is an aging descendant of Meriwether Lewis, who sits at her roadside stand selling cheap fireworks while developers swallow the land around her. Enter Marnie,
Alice’s long-lost granddaughter, proposing to buy the land and save her family’s legacy.

In Clarkston, Jake is a young descendant of William Clark, who has made the journey out west from his home in Connecticut, anxious to find meaning in his own history. He meets Chris during a late-night shift at Costco, forming an awkward bond.

Can these individuals learn to help each other as they struggle to make a home in the vastness of the American landscape?

THE EXPERIENCE
For each presentation, Lewiston and Clarkston will be performed together as a unique theatrical event. Evening performances will begin at 7:00pm.

“Theater of the most deeply moving kind. By evening’s end, you’ll have a palpable sense of having shared something special with your fellow theatergoers.” - The Hollywood Reporter

Sponsored by: Sybil & Maurice Better, Our Lives Magazine


Within These Walls:
Stories of Home

Monologue Festival
June 24-27, 2021

One Weekend Only!

It can mean something different for everyone. For some it is a place, or people, or simply memories made over time. But “home” defines us all in one way or another, and this evocative word serves as the inspiration for FTC’s sixth monologue festival, featuring original pieces written just for us by playwrights from across our community and around the nation. A collection of stories in places borrowed and possessed, offering a thoughtful look at what it means to belong.

“I’ve had the incredible privilege of being part of Forward Theater’s monologue festivals as an actor, director, and writer. It’s always one of my favorite events, and deeply satisfying as a Wisconsin artist to have my work realized on stage. The festival embraces a large number of local artists and explores themes that make for exceptional theater."
- Jess Schuknecht, Theater Artist

Sponsored by: First Business Bank, Husch Blackwell, Steve Brown Apartments